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Cuba Graduates 10,000 Cuban and International Physicians
Date:7/26/2013

learned about the scholarships offered by Cuba. I was especially motivated by the possibility of learning Spanish—when I came here I didn’t speak a word and now I’m fluent.” Dr Telson went on to explain that each of the eight US graduates are interested in specializing in family medicine.

New graduate Dr Adrian Ontiveros, from Hidalgo, Mexico was also attracted by the six-year scholarships offered by ELAM—which has graduated over 20,000 doctors from 70 countries since its founding in 1999, making it the world’s largest medical school. “I could never have studied medicine in Mexico; I come from a poor family and they couldn’t support me through six years of study.” Dr Ontiveros explained that Cuba covers not only tuition for low-income students, but also books, housing, food, even the iconic white coat, which he wore with pride—he is the first doctor in his family.

Health Minister Dr Roberto Morales spoke directly to the Cuban graduates at Tuesday’s commencement, calling them “the future of our health system.” Highlighting the quality, integrated training they receive and the importance of pursuing specialties, Morales said that Cuba now has one physician per 132 inhabitants, a ratio which “allows Cuba to meet its domestic and foreign health professional commitments.” Newly graduated Dr Diane Espino is one of these new physicians. “I’m the first doctor in my family; I was drawn to this profession because I want to contribute to other people, to help save lives,” she said.

In total, 5,683 Cuban and 4,843 foreign doctors graduated in this year’s commencement across the country, where graduation ceremonies were held at all Cuban medical universities this week.

Since 1997, MEDICC’s mission has been to promote cooperation among the US, Cuban and global health communities to improve health outcomes and equity, offering the Cuban experience to inform global debate, policies and practice. MEDICC produced the feature length film ¡Salud
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